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Rediscovering Mariology: Going Beyond Apparitions

Mary with Jesus and AngelsRecently while perusing Marian books at a Catholic gift store, I discovered many of the topics pertained to Marian apparitions, some approved and others not.

Over dinner, I mentioned that I enjoyed the study of Mary, known as Mariology, and the other person shared with me that he had visited Lourdes.

After giving a talk on the rosary, someone from the congregation asked, “What do you think about Medjugorje?”

Lastly, on December 8th, a high school world religions teacher, who had a Masters in Theology from a Catholic college, shared with his class that the Church was celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  He went on to say that its celebration on December 8th was peculiar to him, because after all, how could Jesus be born only a few weeks later on December 25th.  His conclusion: it was a miraculous birth.

These are all real-life situations that reveal a common trend, that is, the dominance of apparitions in contemporary Mariological discussion among the laity. [1] Furthermore, I believe this trend reflects the reason why we need to re-discover Mariology. People are fascinated with Marian apparitions but it is at the expense of Marian catechesis and devotion. There is nothing wrong with apparitions. In fact, I am a great devotee of the Champion, Wisconsin apparition, and have researched and written on it extensively. I also love the story of St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes. I recognize that Marian apparitions, approved or not, have played an important role in forming Catholics in their Marian devotion, and for some, facilitated their conversion. [ii] Fr. Lawrence Porter in A Guide to the Church affirmed the role of apparitions, writing: “There can be little doubt much modern day Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary finds its impetus in visionary appearances of the Virgin at Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, et cetera.” [iii]

By no means do I wish to discount apparitions or diminish their value. Indeed, the messages given to the privileged few who have seen and spoken with Mary, are meant to inspire us and call us to prayer and repentance. We must, however, not limit ourselves to just apparitions. The curiosity sparked by apparitions must be a stepping stone to learning more about Mary and loving her all the more. As seen by the shelf at a Catholic gift store or the lady who told me she had visited Lourdes, the knowledge many people have of Mary is limited to this subject. Apparitions must lead us to a greater love of Jesus, Mary, and the Church. We must discover Mary not only in the apparitions but also through the many sources of Mariology. When a person’s knowledge of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is so deficient that he or she believes it to be the conception of Jesus, we know there is a great need for Marian catechesis.

The late Fr. William Cole, SM, former president of the Mariological Society of America, lamented in 1989 that “as far as things Marian are concerned …. there are many who associate Mary and Marian devotion only with these various appearances.” [iv] One can sense a bit of disappointment in Fr. Cole’s tone. He wished that there was a greater love for things Marian; that in the mainstream it was not limited to just apparitions. From this, we can see the value of Mary by going beyond apparitions and re-discovering Mary in the many rich sources we have as a Church. [v] Fr. Porter wittily noted, “[L]ong before these modern-day appearances of the Virgin Mary, she also appeared significantly in the Bible.” [vi] Fr. Porter is right; one of the first places we should and must turn to in studying Mary is Sacred Scripture, which is a part of the Church’s public revelation.

In reading the Old Testament there are many prefigurements and prophesies pertaining to Mary, beginning with Eve, Hannah (the mother of Samuel), and the writings of David, Isaiah, Micah, and Ezekiel, among others. Furthermore, Sacred Scripture proposes to us certain Mariological questions especially within the New Testament. Who were the brothers and sisters of the Lord mentioned in the scriptures (e.g. Mark 3:31-35, 6:1-6)? What does this mean for Mary’s perpetual virginity? Also from Sacred Scripture, other questions pertaining to Mary’s relationship with Christ and her role in the economy of salvation emerge.

Mariology, then, should not simply be designated as the study of Marian apparitions, but as the study of Mary’s relationship to Christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and anthropology (among other disciplines). Mariology pertains to doctrine and devotion. The Second Vatican Council made Mariology’s relationship to ecclesiology explicitly clear in Chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium, while also mentioning its relationship to other theological disciplines. Furthermore, Paul VI’s apostolic exhortation, Marialis Cultus, provided a good foundation for Mariological study and the right ordering of Marian devotion.

To a certain degree there is a Marian crisis in the Church, but slowly and surely the tide is changing. The crisis is not as catastrophic as the decline in Marian devotion, labeled as a so-called Marian silence in the years following the council; nevertheless, it is true some people find their only spirituality through Our Lady’s latest messages or appearances.  There is a trend of Marian renewal that is occurring throughout the country and world. There is an increased devotion to the rosary and an added interest in other Marian devotions (e.g. novenas).

Today, we need a continued recovery of Mariology within the Church which was especially evident in the writings and speeches of Blessed John Paul II. The future of Mariology hinges on the ability of future priests to preach and catechize on topics related to Mary. It is necessary for men in seminary formation to develop a devotion to Mary and an understanding of Mary’s role within theology, especially dogmatically and doctrinally. [vii]

The future of Mariology can also be promoted by the lay faithful who are developing a greater devotion to Mary through many lay movements (e.g. Shoenstatt, Militia Immaculata, Legion of Mary, etc.). In the United States, many parishes have also begun to use Fr. Michael Gaitely’s book Thirty-Three Days to Morning Glory, which makes accessible St. Louis de Montfort’s practice of Total Consecration to Mary. With these movements, the Marian sense of the faithful is moving in the right direction, to a recovery of Marian belief and practice beyond apparitions.

Indeed, Mary has appeared throughout the years in many places, each time giving a message calling the world to prayer and conversion of life. This constitutes one aspect of Mariology and Marian devotion, but should not be the be-all-end-all of Mariological study. Apparitions bring us deeper into the mystery of Christ and Mary, cultivating a hunger to know about the Mother of Jesus. This hunger can be satiated by discovering Mary in the scriptures, doctrine, dogma, and the Church Fathers.

So, the next time you want to pick up a book on Mary, consider reaching not for the book on the latest Marian apparition; instead widen your Mariological perspective by reading a work by one of the great saints of our tradition or some other book about Mary, rather than one about her many apparitions. For a jump start, see the list below.

Recommended Reading 

  • Scott Hahn, Hail Holy Queen
  • Paul Haffner, The Mystery of Mary
  • John Phalen, Living the Rosary
  • Fulton Sheen, The World’s First Love
  • Hugo Rahner, Our Lady and the Church
  • Alphonsus Ligouri, The Glories of Mary
  • Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, Thirty-Three Days to Morning Glory
  • St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to MaryThe Secret of the Rosary
  • Paul VI, Marialis Cultus (available at Vatican.va)
  • The Marian Writings of John Paul II
  • Redemptoris Mater (available at Vatican.va)
  • Rosarium Virginis Mariae (available at Vatican.va)

—–
Endnotes
[i] Another such topic would include discussion on the so-called fifth Marian dogma, Mary as Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all grace.
[ii] The author of this article acknowledges the role apparitions played in his own vocational journey to the seminary. He was fascinated with the stories of Marian apparitions during his formative years and grew up visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.
[iii] Lawrence Porter, A Guide to the Church (Staten Island, NY: St. Paul’s Alba House, 2007), 406.
[iv] William Cole, SM, “Presidential Address: The Future of Mariology,” Marian Studies XL (1989), 55.
[v] The Pontifical International Marian Academy has published a marvelous document focusing on the sources of Mariology. See: Pontifical International Marian Academy, The Mother of the Lord: Memory, Presence, Hope translated by Thomas Thompson, SM (Staten Island, NY: St. Paul’s Alba House, 2007), 3-32.
[vi] Porter, 406.
[vii] This opinion is expressed in a letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education dated March 25, 1988 entitled, The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation.


Fr. Edward Looney was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 2015 for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. A member of the Mariological Society of America, he has written extensively on the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. His most recent works include A Novena to the Queen of Heaven, Our Lady of Good Help and a Prayer After Holy Communion for the Conversion of Sinners. To learn more, visit his website.

  • “a high school world religions teacher, who had a Masters in Theology
    from a Catholic college, shared with his class that the Church was
    celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception. He went on to say
    that its celebration on December 8th was peculiar to him, because after
    all, how could Jesus be born only a few weeks later on December 25th.” The Immaculate Conception celebrates when Mary was conceived, not Jesus.

  • mbalcer7337

    Michael, the point of that particular example by the author was to illustrate that this high school religion teacher had a very poor understanding of Marianology, because he believed that the Immaculate Conception referred to Jesus’ conception. The author referred to this a few paragraphs later when he said “When a person’s knowledge of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is so deficient that he or she believes it to be the conception of Jesus, we know there is a great need for Marian catechesis,” thus his main point of the whole article is that Catholics need to go back to studying traditional Marianology and not just glean knowledge of Mary from apparitions alone, so we don’t have a bunch of Catholics walking around ignorant about her.

    • Noel Fitzpatrick

      This is a great discussion and I am grateful to all who contributed with respect and courtesy. I am impressed with Ed’s learning, as I am with other contributors also.

      Kevin has resolved the whole issue “The font from which Divine Revelation flows is two-fold: Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition”. Catholics and Protestants disagree here.

      But I am not too clear on the need to use ‘apostolic tradition’ and not just ‘tradition’. Is our view really two fold?

      I see in the CCC “78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. .. 80 Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same
      goal.”

      I also see in Dei Verbum 9 “Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and
      reverence.”

      • CDville

        Noel, i am sure he specifies Apostolic Tradition for the sake of our Protestant readers, who might confuse the Catholic use of tradition with human traditions such as Easter lilies and Christmas stockings. There is too much imprecision in the English languuage.

  • Edward Looney

    Michael, I am quite aware that Immaculate Refers to Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The use of the example was to shock the reader. I am glad that it worked.

  • Ed

    Its sad to see so many RC’s deceived by these doctrines. Nothing in Scripture comes close to teaching what the RCC says about Mary.

    • Edward Looney

      I would believe that our point of departure would be over tradition since you explicitly reference scripture as a primary source. Looking to the Apostolic Fathers and early Church Fathers, we can glean much about the early Christian’s beliefs about Mary. The earliest recorded prayer is the Sub Tuum Praesidium which hails Mary as the Mother of God and acknowledges her intercessory role. Maximus the Confessor’s “Life of the Virgin” was recently translated into English and shows just what was believed about Mary in the sixth and seventh century.

      • Ed

        We know from Scripture that no one prayed to her, considered her to be immaculate conceived without sin her entire life or that all grace comes through her.

        The Sub Tuum Praesidium is dated to around 250 and it shows how early unbiblical ideas were coming into the church.

        These ideas are not apostolic.

        • Edward Looney

          At the present moment, I am away from my own personal library so I am unable to reference the books I have. Luigi Gambero has a marvelous book called “Mary and the Church Fathers”. I believe that he starts with the Apostolic Fathers, in which case he would provide early references made to Mary.

          The most commonly cited example of Mary as an intercessor would be the Wedding Feast at Cana, in which she informed her son of the couple’s need.

          • Ed

            Edward,

            I’m aware of some of these sources also. When we start at Scripture, we don’t find the Marian dogmas. Scripture are the only primary sources for Mary and they don’t teach anything close to the dogmas that are about her. You really do have to go centuries after the apostles to see how Mariology devoloped. developed.

          • Harry Flynn

            Not apostolic? Elizabeth does not refer to Mary as “the mother of my Lord”? Oh, wait, she did not say “mother of my GOD”. Well, I suppose I should scrap any and all belief in the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY of Israel because God does not speak in human language to bring mankind closer to Him. I think He expects us to “pray in tongues” a “language of angels.” After all, THIS is biblical stuff!

            Ed, I employ sarcasm rarely, but when I do, I prefer dos Equis.

            Stay thirsty my friends!

          • Ed

            Harry,

            Where in Scripture is it said of Mary that Christians prayed to her, considered her to be immaculate conceived without sin her entire life or that all grace comes through her? .

          • Guest

            Ed, Catholics do not pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We solicit Her intercession because She is the Mother of the Son of God, Who took Her flesh to become one of us yet still retaining full divinity. The Son of God offered His Mother to John to behold as his mother too. John represented us. So we benefit in having the Blessed Virgin as our Mother too. And do not children invoke the assistance of their mother to intercede with their dad on their behalf. For the Blessed Virgin to conceive the Son of God, She was created without original sin. Hence the Immaculate Conception. Eve was created without original sin too but chose to sin. The Blessed Virgin was created without original sin and triumphed in not sinning at all. The Blessed Virgin is full of Grace and can obtain the necessary graces for us as She is 100 percent human and triumphed over sin. She also led the Apostles in Prayer after the Ascension of Jesus to Heaven and to await the descent of the Holy Spirit – Her Holy Spouse. If the Apostles did not have the Blessed Virgin to rely on after Jesus’ Ascension they would have fallen apart. But knowing they were not alone in building the kingdom of God through the Blessed Virgin’s presence amongst them and experiencing true humility through Her service to them… gave them the moral courage to proceed. Also bear in the mind the Bible was written 300 hundred years after the Church has been in existence. There is much Tradition practiced that were not recorded in the Bible and stated so by one of the evangelists. If you are truly seeking to understand Mary’s role, know that the Lord will enlighten you. There is a book entitled City of God by Blessed Mary Agreda – an abridged version which will give you insights to how the dogmas on the Blessed Virgin came to be. Pax Christi

          • Harry Flynn

            Ah yes, the tried and true notion of side-stepping. If I had a dime everytime I saw this….

            Ed, are you familiar with pedagogy?

        • Mary Kochan

          Ed, allow me to welcome you here. I am the editor of this site. I am also a convert to the faith, formerly Protestant and originally a Jehovah’s Witness. This background gives me a lot of sympathy for where you are and also for your courage in coming here to present your views.

          Let me respond directly to what you have said above, “We know from Scripture that no one prayed to her, considered her to be immaculate conceived without sin her entire life or that all grace comes through her.” First of all you cannot make an argument from silence. The best you can say about something not mentioned in Scripture, is that it is not mentioned, not that it did not occur, Or that we “know” about it.

          Second, you must be precise in your terminology and you misunderstand the terminology of those to whom you are speaking. When Catholics speak of “praying to Mary” they are not using the word “praying” as you likely do, to mean petitions addressed exclusively to God. They are using the word in the sense of the old English expression “I pray thee”, meaning “I ask you.”

          It is impossible to take a single Catholic doctrine out of context and really understand it. We cannot look at Mary and how she intercedes for us, without also looking at the Catholic teaching regarding the communion of saints.

          As I have learned more about the Catholic faith I have really been astounded at how thoroughly biblical Catholic doctrine about Mary is. Since I’m dealing right now with a disability in my hands and cannot type (using a speaking program to comment here), I’m going to leave it up to my fellow Catholics on this thread to kindly and gently elaborate on these things. But I do wish to repeat my sincere welcome to you. Thank you for visiting Catholic Lane.

          • Ed

            Hi Mary,
            I am not making an argument from silence rather the RCC is. They are the ones making claims about Mary that are not found in Scripture. Since they make the claim, they bear the burden of proof to show that these doctrines were taught by the Lord Jesus and the apostles. If there is no such teaching in Scripture then we know they did not teach such things. If you study Mariology you will find that it took centuries for it to develop and was not part of the NT church or early church..

            RC’s do pray to Mary. The rosary is a prayer to her. Also look at devotional material to Mary. Have you read THE GLORIES OF MARY by St. Alphonsus de Liguori Doctor of the Church? This is one of the many devotional works in the RCC on Mary. It is full of exhortations to pray and invoke her for help. She is put on the same level as Christ.

            Do you think the apostles taught such a thing as this prayer? Do you think a Christian who is to be totally devoted Christ would devote themselves to another? Did Jesus command us to devote ourselves to Mary?

            “Morning Consecration to Mary

            My Queen, My Mother, I offer
            myself entirely to thee.
            And to show my devotion to thee,
            I offer thee this day, my eyes,
            my ears, my mouth, my heart,
            my whole being without reserve.
            Wherefore, good Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, guard me as thy property and possession.
            Amen.”

            http://www.marypages.com/PrayerstoMary.htm

            Sorry to hear about your disability.

          • Kevin Symonds

            I am very sad to see this response, Ed. If you are going to raise issues, may I make a suggestion? How about raising one point at a time.

            So far, you have the “Mary & Sola Scriptura” argument out on the table. Then you place the issue of praying to Mary, then devotion to her.

            May I further suggest going for the “M&SS” discussion first?

          • Ed

            Kevin,

            Not intending to bulldoze anyone on this. Its just that there is so much to the Marian dogmas and devotions. Best place to start is always the Scripture. Any claim must first be grounded in Scripture or its not biblical or apostolic. Agreed?

          • Kevin Symonds

            No, I do not agree. Again, Ed, you cannot walk onto a Catholic web site and hold Catholics to the heresy of “Sola Scriptura”. This doctrine underlies your entire argument and it is why I do not agree with you.

            The font from which Divine Revelation flows is two-fold: Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition. Thus Mariology is going to flow from both.

          • Ed

            Kevin,

            Do you agree that the only thing we know about Mary is found only in the NT? Are there any writings of the apostles that speak of Mary’s conception or that we should pray to her? After all, you did state that Mariology does flow from the Scripture and if so,we should see the apostles teaching the Marian dogmas.

          • Edward Looney

            One of the ways Mariology comes from the scriptures, is by the prophesies, foreshadowings and pre-figurements of Mary found in the Old Testament, such as Mary as the New Eve, Ark of the New Covenant, the Virgin who will conceive and give birth to Emmanuel. Then in the New Testament, Mary’s own prophesy that all generations would call her blessed. Is this not what Marian devotion has done throughout the years, but continued to re-echo the words of Elizabeth?

            Regarding dogma, it seems that you are stuck on one dogma, specifically the Immaculate Conception. Let us not forget that there are four Marian dogmas, Motherhood of God, Perpetual Virgin, Immaculate Conception, and the Assumption.

            Let us turn to Scripture to see how it has been used as a tool to at times to both criticize and defend the Marian dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity. The scriptures give testimony to the brother’s and sisters of the Lord. Because of interpretation, some would use this against the dogma, while others would use scripture to support the case citing the word adelphos means cousin, or brother in a broad sense. I will wait until the morning to respond further.

          • Ed

            Edward,
            There is not one shred of evidence in Scripture that Mary was assumed into heaven. In fact its not until 377 that Saint Epiphanius of Salamis that no one knew whether Mary had died or not. That’s hundreds of years after she lived.

            Mary was blessed in what God chose her to do. There is nothing inherent in her nature that made her any different than any other fallen human being.

          • Mary Kochan

            No one knowing whether she died or not has nothing at all to do with whether she was assumed into heaven. It demonstrates great poverty of understanding to suggest that it would.

          • Ed

            Mary,

            If no one knows what happened after she died it is disingenuous for your church to claim she was assumed into heaven without any evidence for it.

            The Roman Catholic writer Eamon Duffy concedes that, ‘there is, clearly, no historical evidence whatever for it …’ (Eamon Duffy, What Catholics Believe About Mary (London: Catholic
            Truth Society, 1989), p. 17). For centuries in the early
            Church there is complete silence regarding Mary’s end. The first mention of it is by Epiphanius in 377 A.D. and he specifically states that no one knows what actually happened to Mary. He lived near Palestine and if there were, in fact,
            a tradition in the Church generally believed and taught he would have affirmed it. But he clearly states that ‘her end no one knows.’ These are his words:
            “But if some think us mistaken, let them search the Scriptures. They will not find Mary’s death; they will not find whether she died or did not die; they will not find whether she was buried or was not buried … Scripture is absolutely silent [on the end of
            Mary] … For my own part, I do not dare to speak, but I keep my own thoughts and I practice silence … The fact is, Scripture has outstripped the human mind and left [this matter] uncertain … Did she die, we do not know … Either the holy Virgin died and was buried … Or she was killed … Or she remained alive, since nothing is impossible with God and He can do whatever He desires; for her end no-one knows.’ (Epiphanius, Panarion, Haer. 78.10-11, 23. Cited by juniper Carol, O.F.M. ed., Mariology, Vol. II (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957), pp. 139-40)”

            I would think you would find it puzzling that there is no mention of her death in Scripture and nothing about it for almost 400 years. When it is mentioned, there is nothing to tell us what did happen. This is why its .disingenuous for your church to proclaim she was assumed into heaven when there is not one shred of evidence for it.

          • Kevin Symonds

            Ed, you did not pay attention to what I said. You once more try to hold me to the heretical standard of Sola Scriptura.

            I said Divine Revelation has two sources: Sacred Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition. I did not say “Mariology does flow from Scripture.”

            To be clear: my point was Mariology flows from both and both are necessary. You cannot argue from one without reference to the other. Therefore Ed, I reject the latent premise of Sola Scriptura in your line of questioning.

          • Ed

            Kevin,
            Can you define what Sola Scriptura means? I want to make sure I understand what you mean and see if we are in agreement what it means.

          • Kevin Symonds

            Let’s see here….”Sola Scriptura”, Latin for “Scripture Alone”, understood in Protestant theology to mean Scripture alone is how God reveals His word, or to put it another way, that Scripture alone reveals all that God revealed for salvation. Nothing else is necessary, God does not communicate in any other way than through Scripture.

          • Ed

            Kevin,
            That is not entirely what is meant by Sola Scriptura. What Sola Scriptura means is that Scripture alone is inspired-inerrant Word of God. Because it is the inspired-inerrant Word of God it alone is the highest authority for the Christian. It has no equal and its teachings are binding on all.

            If you want to claim that your traditions are equal to the Scripture, then you are going to have to demonstrate that they are also inspired and inerrant. Please give me a example of a tradition that is not in Scripture and is inspired and inerrant. I want to know clearly what you mean by tradition and how you know its inspired and inerrant.

          • Kevin Symonds

            It is necessary for me to dispel further some misconceptions:

            1) I did not say “traditions.” I said “Apostolic Tradition.” There is a difference.

            2) I did not say the Apostolic Tradition is equal to Sacred Scripture. I said these are the source from which Divine Revelation flows.

            That said, if Sola Scriptura (SS) is “alone the inspired-inerrant Word of God” then the logical conclusion is what I have said above. I am simply stating the practical effects of the doctrine. What you must ask yourself is whether or not you wish to intellectualize or deal with the matter head-on. That choice, I leave to you.

          • Ed

            Kevin,
            What exactly are these “Apostolic Tradition.”? Do you mean only those teachings we have of the apostles found only in Scripture or something else? If something else, then please give me a couple of examples.

          • Edward Looney

            My understanding of Apostolic Tradition would be both the Apostles but also those who received the faith from the Apostles. There are writings of the “Apostolic Fathers” who include Clement of Alexandria, Ignatius of Antioch, Diogenes, Polycarp, the Shepherd of Hermas, etc. I would point you to a book put out by Baker Academic ( http://www.amazon.com/Apostolic-Fathers-English-Michael-Holmes/dp/0801031087/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1362871876&sr=8-2&keywords=apostolic+fathers )

          • Kevin Symonds

            Ed, can you tell me what is “Apostolic Succession” and your understanding of it?

          • Ed

            Kevin,
            “Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all Catholic bishops are part of a lineage that goes back to the time of the apostles…”http://www.catholic.com/tracts/apostolic-succession

          • Kevin Symonds

            Ed, please do not copy/paste. I really do not like it when people do this. It breaks down the humanity of a conversation between two people.

            Can you please show me where “Apostolic Succession” is mentioned by Jesus?

            Also, I am not one much for commenting on web sites anymore. I will be glad to discuss things via phone or Skype if you wish.

          • Ed

            Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all Catholic bishops are part of a lineage that goes back to the time of the apostles

          • Kevin Symonds

            Also, it is not “these” Apostolic Tradition” It is “the Apostolic Tradition.” It is also permissible not to use the definite article “the” in front of it.

            As I indicated, there is a whole world of speak here, sir.

          • Ed

            Kevin,

            Can you give me a couple of “the Apostolic Tradition.” that are not found in Scripture?

          • Mary Kochan

            Ed, thank you for hanging in with us for this discussion. You’ll have to bear with me because although I can quote you Scripture, due to the condition of my hands I am not going to be able to reference chapter and verse for you. I will have to rely on one of the other Catholics here to supply those.

            We cannot agree with your proposition that any claim must first be grounded in Scripture. A Catholic begins with the church, not with Scripture, because it is the church who tells us what our Scriptures are. Rather than elaborate further on this point here, I offer these articles for your consideration.

            Why Sola Scriptura Still Matters, Part One
            Why Sola Scriptura Still Matters, Part Two

            Why Sola Scriptura Still Matters, Part Three

            Now having said that, I would like to reiterate that the church’s teachings about Mary are biblical. I’m just going to touch on a few points off the top of my head, and allow my fellow Catholics to chime in with more and fill in some of the details.

            Everything that we believe about Mary flows from what we believe about Christ, what we believe about the Holy Trinity, what we believe about salvation and the incarnation. Mary is not put on the same level as Christ, who is worshiped as Almighty God. I myself say daily another version of the prayer you quoted: My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you and in proof of my affection, I give you my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart, my whole being without reserve. Since I am your own, keep me and guard me as your property and possession. Amen.

            But I say that prayer after I have said this one: O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates, and in particular for the intentions of our Holy Father.

            I am not confused. I know who Jesus is. I know that Mary is a creature. But I also know that she is my Queen and my Mother. it is God who has made her queen. It is God who has made her my mother. A Queen has real power. God does not play games. Mary is not “Queen for a day” like some old lady in a nursing home birthday celebration. God has given her real power and God has given her real authority. God did not give her to us as a mother, and then expect us to ignore her. It is a real role with real privileges; it makes real demands upon us and upon her.

            Consider the fact that that Eve was called by Adam, “the mother of all living” and that her physical motherhood of the human race is a reality. When the last Adam was dying on the cross, he said to John, “behold your mother” and to Mary “behold your son.” Consider the fact that by assuming humanity to himself Jesus Christ the incarnate God made himself our brother and we know we become children of his Father. From these biblical points, we understand that Mary is given to all of us as a mother with a motherhood that is just as real as the motherhood of Eve. We become children of Jesus’ own mother.

            The woman of revelation the 12th chapter is called the mother of the witnesses of Jesus. The church teaches that this is a symbolic reference both to Mary and to the church. if you notice the end of chapter 11 closes with John announcing that he is seeing the ark of the covenant in heaven. What is the ark of the covenant he sees? It is the woman of Revelation 12. Consider the correspondence between the Old Testament ark of the covenant and Mary, the New Testament ark of the covenant. (Forgive my not capitalizing everything that should be capitalized here.)

            If you check the account, I believe it is in Exodus, but it may be in numbers, where the Ark of the covenant of the Old Testament is being commanded by God to be built. You will see that special mention is made of two particular craftsman who would oversee the work of crafting this holy object. God promises to put his spirit upon them for the work of making the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle. To give them special skill and knowledge because the sacred building and furniture were to be made without any flaws, unmarred by human imperfection. And yet the way they were made was according to the usual methods of craftsmen. This is the way it is with the blessed virgin. She began her life in the ordinary way that all human babies begin their lives. But the intervention of God’s Spirit at her conception prevented the stain of original sin from touching her.

            What was kept in the ark of the covenant of the Old Testament? A jar of manna, the tablets of the Law, and the Rod of Aaron the high priest. What did Mary bear inside of her? The living bread who came down from heaven, the one who fulfilled the law, and who is our high priest.

            David danced for joy before the ark. John the Baptist leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb before Mary.

            Mary noticed the need of the host at the wedding feast of Cana and interceded with her son on his behalf. it was around her that the disciples gathered for prayer after the Ascension. These are just a few points for you to think about.

            Do not make the same mistake about the Marian doctrines that the Jehovah’s Witnesses make about the Trinity. When a doctrine is formulated does not necessarily correspond with when it begins to be believed. Doctrines do develop. We have just as much warrant for believing what the church teaches about Mary as we do for believing what the church teaches about the Holy Trinity or for that matter for believing what the church teaches us about Scripture.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            There is so much to respond to what you wrote so let me concentrate on Mary being an ark type. The problem with this is that none of the apostles nor the Lord Jesus ever speak of her like this. They don’t even hint at it. You also have to ask what would the status of Mary be as an ark after Jesus was
            born? Since she no longer was carrying the Lord Jesus in her womb what would that make Mary?

            If anyone would be considered the ark as a type it would be the Lord Jesus Himself. For example, He is a type of mercy seat where mercy is given. Would you consider Mary to be a type of mercy seat where sins are forgiven?
            Jesus also in His person perfectly fulfilled the law of God (the tablet of the ten commandments. Do you think Mary fulfilled the law perfectly? Another object in the ark was a jar of manna that sustained the Jews for 40 years. Do you think Mary fulfills this?

            If Mary is truly a type of ark then she would have to be the
            fulfillment of these things. We know that she is not. The only One who is, is the Lord Jesus.

          • Mary Kochan

            Ed, I do not want you to become silly and what you’re saying. The ark was already in and of itself holy, due to its consecration to God, before anything was put into it. And if it would have happened the during the time the Philistines had it, they would’ve extracted the relics from it, that would in no way have decreased its holiness. It was the attachment of God’s presence to it that made it so holy that no one could touch it.

          • Ed

            Mary,

            It is silly to call Mary an ark of some kind. The Scripture never alludes to her as being such and as I pointed out she does not fulfill any of the spiritual characteristics of it. Only the Lord Jesus does as I pointed out.

            “Full of grace” or “highly favored” one has nothing to do with sin. It means to grace, highly honor or greatly favor. In the NT spoken only of the divine favor, as to the virgin Mary in Luke 1:28, Mary was to be highly favored, approved of God to conceive the Son of God through the Holy Spirit.
            The only other use of charitó? is in Eph. 1:6 where believers are said to be “?accepted in the beloved,?” i.e., objects of grace. Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G5486). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

            What this means is that the idea that Mary was without sin has not foundation in Scripture. In fact we know from Roman 3:9,23 and 5:12 that all men (conceived by 2 human beings) inherit the sin nature because of Adam. The only exception to this principle is the Lord Jesus Who did not have a human father involved in His conception. The sin of Adam was not passed onto Him.

          • Ed

            Mary,

            Here is what a couple of RC scholars say about the woman of Rev 12:

            Raymond Brown and J.A.
            Fitzmyer, editors of the Jerome Biblical Commentary (2:482):

            “a woman: Most of the ancient commentators identified her with the Church; in the Middle Ages it was widely held that she represented Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Modern exegetes have generally adopted the older interpretation, with
            certain modifications..

            In recent years several Catholics have championed the Marian
            interpretation. Numerous contextual details, however, are ill-suited to such an explanation. For example, we are scarcely to think that Mary endured the worst of the pains of childbirth (v. 2), that she was pursued into the desert after the birth of her child (6, 13ff.), or, finally, that she was persecuted through
            her other children (v. 17). The emphasis on the persecution of the woman is really appropriate only if she represents the Church, which is presented throughout the book as oppressed by the forces of evil, yet protected by God.
            Furthermore, the image of a woman is common in ancient Oriental secular literature as well as in the Bible (e.g., Is 50:1; Jer 50:12) as a symbol for a people, a nation, or a city. It is fitting, then, to see in this woman the People of God, the true Israel of the OT and NT.”

          • Mary Kochan

            Ed, what this or that exegete has to say on the matter does not at all concerned me. The church, which cannot err in matters of faith, chooses those readings in Revelation for the Marian feast. The liturgy is the interpretive lens. As for you the details you cite, Mary, along with Joseph and the child Jesus had to flee into Egypt shortly after the birth. And if she is truly a mother to us all — she is! — then the persecution of Christians is certainly one of the ways the devil attacks her. None of this is to deny that these things apply to the people of God, the church.

            Mary is everything that Israel was supposed to be and that the church will finally be, the perfect spouse, mother, and daughter of God. What we see in Scripture consistently, is that the identity of a people is consolidated into one individual and the identity of an individual is dispersed into a people. For example, “Jacob” can refer to an individual person, or to the entire nation that sprang from him.

            You began this argument with your claim that Catholic teaching on Mary was unbiblical. We show you repeated references to her in Scripture, so the problem is not that the references aren’t there, the problem is that you do not agree with the church’s interpretation of them. You believe that you have more authority to interpret the Scriptures than does the Catholic Church. That is why, as Kevin Symonds pointed out, your real problem is sola scriptura. That completely unbiblical doctrine is what you are basing all this worthless criticism upon.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            Correct interpretation of the Scripture is absolutely necessary if a doctrine is to be considered apostolic. Take your claim that Mary is the mother of us all. Scripture does not teach this. When Jesus gave Mary into the care of John that did not make Mary the mother of the church or even of John. She was only the mother to Jesus and His blood brothers and sisters. Matt 13:55-56. Not one writer of the letters in the NT ever hint at Mary being the mother of us all.

            Mary is not “everything that Israel was supposed to be and that the church will finally be..” Only Jesus fulfilled that role.

            No church is protected from error. It has no basis in Scripture for it given that Christ never promised it, there are warnings in Scripture that false teachers would come into the church and deceive many, we are to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and there are examples of corruptions in the church in Revelation.If the church was protected from error there would be a promise from Christ, no warnings about false teachers and not rebuke by Christ in Revelation for some of the church’s false teachings.

          • Mary Kochan

            Ed, I do appreciate your zeal. I do believe that you truly care about others and are sincere in attempting to dissuade us from what you believe is error. However I will remind you that you are a guest here on a Catholic website and that all of us who are being patient with you and responding to you are very busy people.

            It has been already pointed out to you several times that your fundamental problem is adherence to Sola Scriptura, regardless of how you want to quibble with Kevin Symonds over its precise meaning. Being as how it is a Protestant principle it will of course have as many various meanings as Protestants find it convenient to assigned to it. We cannot be responsible for knowing and expressing every permutation of Protestant concepts, since, as Martin Luther himself admitted late in life in viewing what he had wrought, “There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the altar; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God. There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams.”

            However you have hit the nail on the head above when you deny that there exists a church protected from error, because however Protestants defined Sola Scriptura what they really mean is not ‘Scripture alone” but “no Catholic Church.”

            For this reason I request that you desist from the discussion on this page. You have already decided that the church cannot teach you anything. it therefore makes no sense to continue a discussion with Catholics who are taught by the church.

            If you wish to continue commenting on this site at all, please first read these three articles regarding Sola Scriptura.

            http://www.catholiclane.com/why-sola-scriptura-still-matters-part-one/
            http://www.catholiclane.com/why-sola-scriptura-still-matters-part-two/
            http://www.catholiclane.com/why-sola-scriptura-still-matters-part-three/

            Once you have read all three we will be happy to meet you in the comment boxes at the bottom of the third article. Otherwise, honestly, this is a waste of time.

          • Ed

            Mary,
            These discussions are not a waste of time for those who want the truth. For those that don’t they will find them hard to handle. I asked you and the others to go beyond asserting what your church tells you and to look at the Scripture and I can see how difficult this has been for you and the others. The fact is that the Marian doctrines i.e. her immaculate conception, perpetual virginity and queen of heaven are not grounded in Scripture but are later developments in church history.
            I am very familiar with Sola Scriptura. What I have found among RC’s is that they don’t understand it and so continually misunderstand it.
            I’ll check out again your articles on Sola Scriptura

        • Kevin Symonds

          Dear Ed,

          Hello. It will come as no surprise to you if I say that if you come to a Catholic web site and say these things, people are going to disagree with you.

          That said, let me ask you a question. How much have you read about Mariology?

    • JohnnyVoxx

      It is sad to see a disobedient lost soul on its way to Hell. Mary is throughout Scripture. The Bible is a Catholic Book. Repent.

      • Ed

        Johnny,
        It is true that Mary is mentioned in the NT but there is nothing in it that come close to the Marian dogmas.

        • JohnnyVoxx

          The Catholic Church has authority to define dogma. You don’t. Lay down your arms you unholy rebel.

  • wonder

    Ed.
    As beautiful pillars acting as bookends we see Jesus’ Mother; Genesis 3:15 ” I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shall lie in wait for her heel.”

    The Apocalypse chpt. 12:17 “And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

    I love Mary. She is Gods masterpiece.
    Many call her Mother for good reason.
    See John chpt. 19:26-27.

    • Edward Looney

      Dear Wonder,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, you are exactly right. Genesis is a foreshadowing or prophesy of Mary’s role. I wish to also point out regarding Apocalypse (Revelation) 12:17 that the woman depicted is also seen as the Church. In Mariology there is a great adage: what can be said of Mary, can also be said of the Church, what is is said of the Church, can be said of Mary. For example, if Mary is Virgin and Mother, so is the Church.

      • wonder

        Edward.
        Your welcome. Yes the Holy church as Mary.
        In John 19 I can see St. John the beloved; “..taking her into his home” as the new sons just given Mary as their Mother taking Her into their hearts.
        This acceptance is truly remarkable, as it is a relationship that honors the Son’s last command uttered from the scaffold.
        My relationship with Christ deepened once I consecrated my heart to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The method was through St. Maximilian Kolbe. God bless the MI.

  • Brandon Schuller

    The best book available right now on true Mariology is the new book by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC called “Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest.” I’m very surprised you did not include that in your list of Mariological books.

    • Edward Looney

      I was not aware that it had been released. I knew he was working on that book. I searched for it on Amazon and Marian press but did not find it. Could you please link to where I can buy it so I can read it and be able to recommend it? I believe that before you can recommend something, you have to read it yourself!

      • Brandon Schuller

        I think you will love it, Edward. I got mine the day after it came out and I read it in 2 days. It’s only been available for about a week so a lot of people don’t know about it yet. I’m gonna re-read it because there is so much in it that it will take time to unpack it all. It’s deep, but in a style that is very easy to read, and it’s the most comprehensive and intense Marian reading I’ve seen in any Marian book over the last 50 years. God bless.

      • Mary Kochan

        Edward, we would love to publish your review of it.

  • wonder

    Ed-
    Please read Any of Dr. Scott Hahn’s materials.
    He was a destroyer of Catholic thought for many years. His contempt for Catholic church was heightened when the subject of Jesus’ Mother came up. Please read Hail Holy Queen but first read the personal history of the once sought after Protestant theologian Dr. Scott Hahn.
    His depth of Scripture study in Protestant circles is noteworthy.
    Thanks Ed for being patient.